Netflix asks FCC to help kill off broadband data caps

By Scorpus ยท 9 replies
Sep 13, 2016
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  1. Netflix really hates data caps. In their eyes, any barriers that restrict their customers from streaming loads of TV shows and movies should be removed, which is why the company has asked the Federal Communications Commission to ban data caps in the United States.

    According to Netflix, data caps on wired networks are particularly bad, as they "do not appear to serve a legitimate purpose." In a letter from Netflix to the FCC, the company also says that data caps do little to prevent network congestion, and instead "may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing".

    Netflix does have a point: charging users by the gigabyte is an artificial limitation implemented by ISPs like Comcast to get more money from consumers. In telecommunications networks like wired broadband, the actual limited resource is bandwidth, not data, which in many circumstances is already restricted based on the plan or tier a customer purchases.

    The letter from Netflix specifically targets Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which they claim allows the FCC to rule that "data caps on fixed-­line networks ­­and low data caps on mobile networks" are unreasonable. This could lead the FCC to ban data caps altogether, or at least pressure ISPs to raise any caps to a more reasonable level.

    As for mobile networks, Netflix is worried that low data caps are just as unreasonable for everyday media consumers. Netflix seems to understand that some data limits are required to prevent users from overloading mobile networks, however the company does not like data caps that are too low, as they lead to less streaming over mobile connections.

    Netflix didn't clarify exactly what they think is a reasonable data cap for mobile networks, but they hope the FCC will convince ISPs to raise mobile caps as well.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,075   +428

    Mobile data caps are ridiculous. If your network has 50mbps speeds, you should at least have data caps of 10gb+ because that's really only about an hour of download usage per day.
  3. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,340   +1,438

    Wireless network congestion in crowed areas is a real thing. However, oitsidemajor cities data caps shouldn't exist. I've also had a data cap from Comcast for ~7 years now. I have a soft cap limit of 250gb. Consider ing they were able to give me 250gigs in 2009 I see now reason why that shouldn't be at least a terabyte now.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Hexic

    Hexic TS Maniac Posts: 333   +165

    I suppose I'm fortunate - I haven't had a data cap with the exception of living in one apartment in college.

    Raz, do you live in an urban or rural environment? I'm just curious at this rate. I have been on Comcast and Frontier in 3 houses in my area, and speed is the only thing I've paid any more or less for.
  5. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    Yeah but thats a bandwidth issue, not a data issue.
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Data caps are a money grab for those who actually use the internet, always have been, always will be. Until the government steps in to put an end to this nonsense they will remain. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if the caps increased over time but the ISPs don't see any reason to do so, overage is good money for them.

    Imagine 10 years ago my cap was 100GB, a few years ago I had to fight to get a 30% increase, finally this year I got fed up and had it increased to 430GB by buying a monthly 300GB capacity bonus because 130GB was just unusable.
  7. I've gone over a TB in a month and Time Warner Cable's never complained to me about it or tried to charge me more.
  8. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,340   +1,438

    If everyone is using all their bandwidth at once all the cellular signals blend together and no one can use their data. Data caps are designed to keep network congestion down in croweded areas to prevent interference . however, outside of major cities this isn't a problem, but cellular companies found out they can gouge customers in those areas too.
  9. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Netflix, we all know you're not that dumb. The purpose of data caps are to get people to pay attention to how much bandwidth they're using. It also stops people from uploading 30GB/day from their torrent servers.

    There's a common problem when something is 'unlimited' that 99% of the people will use a total of 60% of the resource, but that top 1% will use like 40% of the total. Why does this matter? Because the hardware can only handle so much data and Comcast doesn't want to get a pile of complaints about people's speeds being lower than what they're paying for.

    Comcast isn't going to lay a bunch of new fiber so DudeBro420 can send p0rn around the world. And you sure don't want to pay more for the same speeds you're getting now. If you give people unlimited data quantity, you have to limit the speed, and that's worse because your quality will go down.
  10. Brock Kane

    Brock Kane TS Addict Posts: 185   +105

    Data caps is just another way for providers to keep limits. So they can offer you more for a cost!

    It's just about GREED, nothing more!

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